Farming 2025 style / ABC Regional Drive Perth

I have to start off by admitting that when I first began speaking and consulting to the Agriculture / Horticulture / Live Stock industries 15+ years ago about the Future of Horticulture and Farming, they were a very reluctant and skeptical audience who were used to traditional long-held labour intensive methods of farming and thought that even a mobile phone on the farm was ridiculous.

I spent many strategy sessions, workshops and keynotes over the ensuing years going on about technology, robotics, analytics, AI, changes in the workforce, self driving equipment and a change in the way city slickers would think about their food, its provenance and its growers.

I advocated hard for branding fruit, veg and live produce; ensuring farmers story made it into the marketing message and encouraging farmers to connect and listen to the consumer to find out what they really wanted, how, where and when.

It took a few years but slowly the message began to make sense.

Consumers indeed began to care more about the provenance of their food, became increasingly interested in its journey and in the farmer and what went into growing it.

Growers began to look more to technology to supplement human activities and we now have a totally different agricultural / horticultural ecosystem and a culture that once again celebrates fresh produce and values the work of the grower.

The Ag industry has become my shining example of seismic industry shift based on an open mind-set and a meeting of humans and technology can achieve to come up with:

  • drones to see their property in ways they’ve never done before and to watch over and muster livestock.
  • driverless tractors and harvesters running independently 24 hour per day
  • satellites to gain real-time information about vines, land and livestock
  • remotely monitoring their farms, whilst they are away
  • using swarm robots to plant, till, weed, irrigate and pick
  • precision / smart farming led by artificial intelligence and acted on by robots
  • remote farming, allowing farmers for the first time to live off the farm and still produce

and this is just the tip of Ag tech.

Ahead we’re seeing the rise of vertical farms, a return to smaller near city farms, and households that are increasingly growing their own as well as concerted efforts targeting waste (consumer and grower), increasing farm productivity and bio engineering.

But the most encouraging change of all, is that we’re seeing a return of smiling humans on farms, undertaking very different roles, using very different cutting edge technologies, but it is now becoming a career of choice rather than a default job or job of last resort.

These are just some of the future farming angles Barry Nichols of ABC WA Regional Drive and I chatted about in this weeks segment, so have a listen, share it round and let me know your thoughts on the Future of Farming (9 mins 12 secs)


The Pace of Change / ABC Mornings with Jon Faine

We’ve just discovered a new piece of tech, a new app, a new fad, a new business proposition, a new idea or a new gadget and we think we’ve come to terms with it, when out of left field another new something comes along and blows us out of the water.

This was the starting point for a conversation with ABC Melbourne’s Morning presenter  Jon Faine as we explored all things future, including my belief that the rate of change has not increased just the amount of parallel technologies that we have to tame simultaneously have and that we are all now Homo Cyborg’s irrevocably tied to technology through things we carry on us, have around us and increasingly inside of us.

A fascinating conversation, well worth a listen (9 minutes 16 secs)

Not Humans vs. Robots, but Humans & Robots / AICCWA Perth Keynote, slidedeck and audio

AICC(WA)’s ECU futureNOW Sundowner Event, 27 April 2016 at GHD Perth, featuring Business Futurist, Morris Miselowski – my slidedeck and recording of this keynote are at the bottom of this post.

GHD’s new state of the art facilities provided the perfect setting for the first AICC(WA) futureNOW series presentation of 2016.  Mr Morris Miselowski, world renowned business futurist, innovation provocateur and media commentator addressed the topic “People vs Technology, Who Will Win?

Mr Craig Walkemeyer, Manager – Western Australia, GHD

In welcoming attendees, Mr Craig Walkemeyer, Manager WA, GHD spoke of the innovation focus of GHD, and in particular of the Smart Seeds initiative.   Smart Seeds is an annual innovation program for young professionals focused on generating fresh ideas to solve complex infrastructure challenges.  Hosted for the first time in Perth, Smart Seeds is developing solutions including water sensitivity, connecting people to places, off- grid infrastructure for Perth airport and improving the livability of Perth City.

The keynote speaker was introduced by sponsor Professor Margaret Jones, Director, Office of Research and Innovation at ECU.  Professor Jones also discussed the ECU and cross-academic sector initiatives to collaborate with advanced Doctoral students promoting innovation.  ECU is a young university promoting advanced scientific and technological disciplines, including a world renowned cyber security research institute.

Professor Margaret Jones, Director, Office of Research and Innovation, Edith Cowan University

Professor Jones introduced Morris Miselowski noting his reputation as the “swiss army knife of futurists” and “the secret weapon future proofing business”.  Mr Miselowski works with CEO’s and Boards across the world to guide creative foresight strategy development.  Immediately challenging his audience, Mr Miselowski qualified that real change is driven by people and not technology.  Demonstrating how three decades of technological change has impacted the way we communicate, work, shop, live and love, he posited that all we have really done is put the infrastructure, culture and thinking together to improve lifestyle.  It is however the pace of change moving forward that we need to better prepare for.

So too, organisations have changed.  The company lifespan of and S&P listing has decreased from 60 years to 20 years, and is predicted to further decrease to 12 years.  In the meanwhile, the world is growing “unicorns” defined as companies that obtain $1billion capitalisation within 3 years.  Some achieve $10billion.

Mr Morris Miselowski

The corporate sector is now devolving its view of project driven automation.  “Robots will never take over” said Mr Miselowski, “We will simply look for further ways to transition from manual to creative work. Robots will take physical jobs, but human nature is supplementary to this”.  He cited that although 500,000 to 600,000 jobs in Australia have already been replaced by technology, a further 2 million new jobs have been created in more advanced industry settings.

            From L to R: Professor John Finlay-Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Edith Cowan University, Mr Craig Walkemeyer, Manager – Western Australia, GHD, Mr John Cluer, Chief Executive, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA), Mr Morris Miselowski, Professor Margaret Jones, Director, Office of Research and Innovation, Edith Cowan University, Mr Larry Lopez, Vice-president, AICC(WA) and Partner, Australian Venture Consultants

Mr Miselowski shared some examples of this process, including;

  • Further evolvement of 3d printing that will become a domestic norm that decentralises all forms of manufacturing
  • Reshoring via robotics that return production to its source by undercutting human labor costs.
  • Drones, including those that do what humans have not, cannot, or should not be able to do
  • Self driving cars and new modes of transportation with global distribution reach
  • Rehabilitation and life science medical technology.  Medicine will no longer be invasive with bots that are frontiers for medical diagnosis living inside of us.
  • Transfer of information through wearable technology (the Internet of Things).  We are already providing information about where we are and what we need and our activities are being digitised.

As the next frontier Mr Miselowski talked about moves towards Artificial Intelligence, and our role in writing the narrative by questioning, arguing and providing intuition and wisdom to this process.  He noted it was about outputs not inputs, and that Artisanal Wisdom will allow us to create jobs that are the products of technological evolvement.  He does not fear a loss of human control over technology.

Citing Israel as on of the leading places with the intent and purpose to produce the technology that will allow “humans to win”, Mr Miselowski noted that Israel is a microcosm of the culture that embraces a necessary conversation about our future development and prosperity.

Mr Morris Miselowski

A fascinating dialogue followed Mr Miselowski’s presentation.  When asked how our universities will prepare more futurists, he cited communication (soft skills and wisdom), creativity (developing students who will make jobs as opposed to get jobs) and community (working in tribes) as the key areas of focus.  When asked how to ensure we are not overwhelmed by the pace of growth he commented that “technology is a dumb tool but we are even dumber if we let it control us.  We still need to know how to turn technology off and be human.”

and here’s my slidedeck:

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What can Robots really do? / Austereo

101245423-robot.530x298Every day there seems to be a new Robot doing something that we used to do ourselves, so this week Austereo’s Anthony Tilli and I chatted about the reality of what robots can and might do for us.

Aged care is a really great place to start and most of these are coming out of Japan, which has a growing elderly population, decreasing numbers of human aged care workers and a long time love affair with technology, which gives us robots that can wash hair, robots that monitor dementia patients and exoskeletons that human carers can wear to give them super strength and the ability to easily pick up and move patients around.

Police, army and rescue services have also picked up the pace with sniffer bomb robots and drones that can be sent into hazardous spaces and conditions amongst many other new pieces of tech and are also beginning to explore the use of artificial intelligence to predict issues and deploy people and resources accordingly.

As always a great chat, have a listen now (3 minutes 49 seconds) and then share the robot you’d most like to see invented.




Looking back at 2015 and forward to 2016 trends / ABC Far North, Austereo

2015 - 16One thing I can accurately predict is that around this time of year every year requests come in for a nostalgic look at what we achieved this year and a predictive look at what next year’s trends may bring and this was the theme of my segment this week with Phil Staley of ABC Far North.

2015 was a watershed year in many ways, and for me some of the more obscure but significant technology advances included:

Tesla’s recent software upgrade turning all of it’s on road cars into semi autonomous hands free vehicles, important because it speaks to the ability to significantly change the function and use of an everyday motor vehicle simply through a software upgrade and for the first significant push into driverless cars.

Jeff Bazos’s (Amazon founder) announced recently that he had sent a rocket into orbit and landed it safely and accurately back on earth – a feat that has no rival and speaks volumes to the possibilities of future space exploration, but also to the dogged determination that we have within us as he tells of the 5-year-old he once was dreaming about going into space and the man he has become being able to make that dream come true.

Drones have come into our lives and are here to stay. We have seen them as reporters, as scouts, as fire wardens, as bomb disposal experts, as wedding photographers and the list goes on. Legislation has been talked about. Australia Post, Amazon, Pizza Hut and many others want to employ them as couriers and drones have only begun to look for work.

Windows 10 launched this year and we could argue its good and bad, but my take is its difference, it didn’t come in a box and for many existing users was free. How different this was to the fanfare and circus of old. The many disks, the inferior software with few upgrades and the thoughts of old that not to long from now you would have to go and do it all again. The freshness of this offering, the price points and its delivery and installation all speak volumes about a changed business landscape, pricing models and marketplace.

2016 will bring it with farewells of old tech and old business models as well as new opportunities and horizons.

Augmented (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are set to boom in the first half of next year with all major manufacturers promising new VR products and most under $US400. This may take a while to show its true potential, but it is definitely a new frontier that’s here to stay.

Ambient technology and device consolidation will start its journey next year, as technology becomes as ordinary as electricity and gas, and becomes more about what it can do for me rather than the fact it exists. In this same thought devices will begin to become agnostic with users switching often from one to the other, making choices based on situation and purpose, rather than on wow factor.

Personal Assistants, in the form of robots, that listen to you and talk back will begin their journey to purpose next year with releases like Jibo hitting our retail stores for around the $US2,000 mark. These in the early stages will read emails and texts, announce callers and generally  interact with us, they are not yet the robots of our science fiction dreams, but they are the first line in an evolution that may one day bring us the robot butler, we supposedly can’t live without.

These were just some of our recent past and near future, but have a listen now to the rest and then add your thoughts to the list of 2015 and 2016.

ABC Far North – Phil Staley- Monday 7th December – (12 minutes 36 seconds)

Austereo WA – Anthony Tilley – Monday 14th December 2015 – (4 minutes 16 seconds)

Recycle and refresh your business thinking / Dandenong Journal,

think01 reprinted from a story by Casey Neill in the Dandenong Journal

THE future is all about flexibility, businesses at the SEBN Christmas Industry Breakfast have been told.

“I want you to think of yourselves as a recyclable bottle,” global business futurist Morris Miselowski said at Sandown Racecourse in Springvale on Thursday 3 December.

The morning’s 190 guests donated cash to buy Christmas gifts for those less fortunate, to be distributed through agencies including Dandenong Community Aid and Advice Bureau.

The generosity continued when Simone Hackett from State Schools Relief Fund (SSRF) spoke about how money from the Take a Swing for Charity golf day had supported struggling students.

Golfers raised more than $44,000 at the SEBN event in February, which helped SSRF to dress 679 students at 17 schools within Greater Dandenong in $95,977 worth of clothing this year.

SSRF will also be the recipient of next year’s golf day proceeds, which are scheduled for Monday 22 February at Sandhurst Golf Club.

Mr Miselowski told breakfast guests that some of today’s most successful companies had no assets – driver service Uber owns no cars, accommodation service Airbnb owns no hotels.

He expects this trend towards “using rather than owning” to continue.

Tomorrow’s jobs will include tasks not yet imagined.

Mr Miselowski said everyone would be employing a transhumanist designer within 10 years – a human resources role assigning tasks to humans and robots.

Other roles of the future will include vertical farming and genome specialists, 3D prosthetic engineers and machine linguists.

Accountants and auditors, retail sales assistants and library technicians are among those on the way out, Mr Miselowski said.

He said employing many people in one space from 9am to 5pm weekdays would become anachronistic, and businesses would instead have a small team they could add to when necessary.

Wearable devices will continue to increase in popularity, he said, to the point where in 10 years everybody would be wearing nine devices at any given time.

“The world is increasingly based on data,” he said.

Mr Miselowski said more inanimate objects would be hooked up to interact with and understand humans.

Homes will recognise that their owners are about to arrive and open the garage door, turn on lights and more.

“And next year will be a huge growth year for drones across the planet,” Mr Miselowski said.

But don’t worry: “This is not robots taking over the world.”

“There will still be humans at every touch point.

“At the core we are still humans. We still have need for all the products and services in this room.”

He said today’s tsunami of new technology would calm down in 10 to 20 years.

“We’re seeing so much that is so different,” he said.

Autonomous cars could be a matter of years from dominating roads, dramatically reducing – if not eliminating – road deaths.

Mr Miselowski said they’d also remove the need for driver’s licences and so improve transport accessibility for the disabled, elderly and young.

The more efficient mechanised driving would also be better for environment, he said, and less stressful for commuters.

Robots are all around us / ABC Nightlife

robots-out-to-get-meHow realistic is a world where #robots, #drones, #androids and #AI (Artificial Intelligence) will replace all human work and effort?

I caught up with ABC radio local’s –  Tony Delroy and our special guest Jonathan Roberts Professor in Robotics at Queensland University, in one of our regular on-air chats to explore what robots are currently doing for us in our homes, offices, factories, hospitals, farms, in schools, on the roads, in the air, on and in the ocean and almost everywhere else and what they may be capable of in the very near future.

Here’s just some of the robots around already…

Personal Assistant

Hamburger Chef



Google’s Top 5 Robots

A lively and interesting discussion, great listener calls and surprisingly very little negativity around robots being a part of our lives now and in the future, so have a listen now (44 minutes 50 seconds) and then let me know what you would you would like to have a robot do for you in the very near future.

Nerdvana – live from CeBIT | 4BC

index CEBIT, Sydney’s annual tech and innovation show attracting 20,000 plus visitors to 3 days and 450 exhibitions, was up and running this week and it was a perfect location for a live segment on 4BC, looking at all things innovation and future.

Our chat took us across the realms of rummaging through the exhibition’s treasure trove of what’s ahead, looking at drones and robots, at home automation and 3D printers and some wonderful new start-up ideas and then on to two live interviews with CeBIT exhibitors and stars.

Our first conversation was with Brendan Ryan of Entitlemate a NSW StartUp that will help families understand the real cost of childcare by cutting through the complexity of childcare entitlements by allowing them to enter their details and then using its secret sauce algorithms to work out which government pension or subsidy they may be entitled to.

Our second chat was with Tas Tudor of Strone, an exhibitor I came across in my walk through of the show and thought his new invention was just what the world needed, freedom to stay connected on your own cell phone number, wherever in the world you are, on any device you choose. It’s a unique patented gadget (that’s just received multimillion dollar angel investment) that lets you put your phones sim card into it, leave it and the device at home and it will then transfer your incoming calls for free to wherever you are.

A really great couple of chats and a great way to do a segment, so have a listen now (17 minutes 54 seconds)

Chances are you won’t have your job in 2025 | ABC Local

nightlife_21_April_2015I’m pretty certain that in 10 years you won’t have the job you have today, and why would you want to?

In 2005 most people were using a Nokia phone, handling emails at their desk and believed social media, Facebook and LinkedIn were just a fad and of no possible use.

Switch to 2015, Nokia is out of the phone business, emails find us wherever we are 24/7 and social media has evolved into a multi-trillion dollar industry complete with new jobs, professions and services.

Fast forward to 2025 and who knows what we will be doing, thinking and working at and on, but the thing I’m certain about is that it will not just be what it is today.

There is a perfect storm of technology, economics, culture, politics and humanity that are all independently evolving, but when you put them altogether you have a profound movement of change ahead.

On the technology front alone there are significant backdrops that will change how, where, when and who works these include the internet of things, big data, artificial intelligence, mobile, cloud, 3D printing, machine thinking, robots, drones, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, intelligent buildings, just to name a few.

With the certainty of change, but the uncertainty of what that change may be ABC Local Nightlife’s Tony Delroy and I set out on one of our regular on-air radio expeditions to explore the Future of Work.

Will robots have taken over your job by 2025? What work will we be doing in 2025 that today sounds like a science fiction joke?  What are 2025’s most likely jobs and industries? Which of today’s professions are likely to have become irrelevant by 2030? What new professions will have $100,000 plus salaries in 2020, but most people today don’t even know exist? Where, when and how might you work in the next decade and beyond? and Will there even be enough jobs for everyone in the future?

A really great discussion made better by lots of callers sharing their experiences, fears and thoughts.

Have a listen now (45 minutes)  and then share this link and your thoughts on the Future of Work.

Here’s where you get your #brilliantideas from | 4BC

motorsport_ideaHow did they come up with that? That seems so obvious, why didn’t I think of that? I could have done that! or to quote that great 21st century philosopher Homer Simpson “Doh!”

Inspiration is truly all around us and one of my favourite sources is science fiction and that thing that we saw someone do in a movie, or read in a book, and for years without even knowing it have searched for how to turn it into a reality.

These science fiction seeds that turned into usable realities was our topic this week as I caught up with Clare Blake of 4BC and pondered about where does inspiration come from and what did we see in our movies, or read in books, that have already come true.

Here’s my list of sci-fi dreams turned into today’s reality:

  1. The hoverboard – Back to The Future 1989 back-to-future-hoverboard-3
  2. Google Glass – Back to The Future 1989 bask glasses
  3. Bionic Eyes / Ears / Limbs  – Million Dollar Man 1974 640_bionic
  4. Gesture Controlled Computer – Minority Report 2012 Minority-2
  5. 3D Home Printing – Bugs Bunny Cartoon 1954
  6. 3D Printing – Star Trek 1966 replicator
  7. Androids –  Star Trek 1966 data1-660x880
  8. Tricorder –  Star Trek 1966 Medicaltricorder_2379
  9. Mobile Phones – Star Trek 1966
  10. Handheld Computers – Star Trek 1966
  11. Flying Cars –  Jetsons 1962 jetsons
  12. Space Rocket Launch – Women in the Moon 1929 frau-im-mond-2
  13. Robots – R.U.R. play by Karel Capek 1924

and callers added to this list, including Richard who told us about this 1928 Charlie Chaplin movie poster apparently showing a women walking in the background using a mobile phone.


Who said TV was bad for you?!

Have a listen to the segment now (19 minutes) to hear what today’s versions of these sci-fi inspired tech are and then share or like this to add to the list of what technology you’re waiting to come true from a movie or book you’ve read.